Love Your Body Day: Fat is Sexier Than You Think
In honor of "Love Your Body Day" 2009, here's an essay from among my "greatest hits" titled:Fat is Sexier Than You Think
By Kim Brittingham
"Oh, my God." My mother slapped the steering wheel in percussive disbelief. "Can you believe the nerve of that woman? Where does she get off wearing a skirt that short? At her size, she's got no business!"
We were driving along Byberry Road, past the old abandoned lunatic asylum. A fat woman was walking with relaxed purpose along the side of the road in a black mini-skirt and t-shirt. Her arms and legs were thick and alabaster, her rear end ample and heart-shaped.
It was summer and I was fat too. I wore jeans and a boatneck tunic with three-quarter-length sleeves to hide my sausage-like upper arms and flabby elbows. I was keeping my fat to myself, sparing the public of my hideousness. Just as "The Elephant Man" John Merrick wore a burlap sack over his head when walking the streets of London. It was a simple matter of courtesy.
I was in my twenties then. I'm thirty-seven now, and I still wear three-quarter-length sleeves in summer. And I only bare my legs when I swim. The difference is, I don't think my body is ugly anymore.
But you do.
The fact is, I think my body is beautiful. Really. That's my honest-to-God opinion.
To the touch, I'm scrumptious. The pinkish-white swells of my hips, breasts and belly beg to be caressed, stroked -- kneaded like so much pie dough. And if you've ever actually kneaded dough, or pressed your fingers into a lump of dense but pliable clay and felt the sweet, aching satisfaction in your hands as you molded it -- feeling it give beneath your palms, subtly varying the pressure from your fingertips as you slid them across the endlessly fascinating surface -- then you know the pleasure of a body like mine beneath your touch.
Aesthetically, I'm pear-shaped. The contrast between my waist and hips is dramatic and unmistakable. It's an exaggeration of femininity; like a promise of extreme fertility.
And for an observer to be aroused by the sight of me should not be surprising, because my fat casts a floodlight on my pelvic area and is shamelessly suggestive not only of the babies to which I was designed to give passage, but of the sexual stimulation of which I am capable. It is a pelvis that can writhe with abandon and thump like a bass drum in arousal. The sway of my generous hips is like a neon yellow highlighter wiped over the word "woman". My oversized hips are a bull horn screaming "woman!" I am a siren song to every other human being capable of seeping with desire for the female form. I am woman -- lots of woman, abundant woman, ultimate woman.
This is what breast implants are meant to do, you know. Cast a magnifying glass over the inherent womanliness of breasts and attract. Women get boob jobs to give themselves a certain edge. Frankly, I don't see why they nearly kill themselves trying to diet off their equally bulbous hips. Besides, my belly feels just like a nipple-less breast. It's like one giant porn boob implanted at my waist – a sexual bonus, if you will.
Archaeological discoveries like the Venus of Willendorf have taught us that early peoples, untainted by contemporary definitions of the body "ideal", really responded to the big-hipped, big-bellied woman. They idolized her, literally.
And when I see myself naked, I see that body worthy of worship.
Everything changed when I got my first digital camera. It was a gift, and it came with a tripod. Alone in my apartment one afternoon, I decided to look at myself – see myself as I actually was. I pulled the blinds and stripped down to my cheap polyester bra and teal cotton granny-panties. I slipped on my black satin special occasion pumps, then erected the tripod at the end of the hallway that led from the front door. Pressing the camera button for a ten-second delay, I hustled to the opposite end of the hall and stood, hands-on-hips, letting the camera's flash shower me in white. I returned to the camera and reached for it, tentatively. I looked in the viewer.
Yep, I sure was fat. And at the same time, something about my body pleased me – the milky fullness, the inviting topography of its curves. So I set the timer again, this time to take my picture as I sashayed away from the camera, capturing me in movement.
I was stunned by how sexy I looked. I'm talking drop-dead bombshell sexy. The kind of sexy that makes sailors in movie musicals spin 180 degrees on their heels and whistle, white caps comically askew or twisted in their hands.
There was a line to my body like an elongated "S" that riveted me. And I liked the way one of my ass cheeks cocked upwards as I threw my leg forward. Like a wry smile, or the cheerful buttocks in the old Underalls commercial that made a cute staccato xylophone sound with each side-to-side wag.
I liked these pictures. I liked the body in them.
Now I understand why every lover I ever had couldn't resist tucking their hands into the warm, baby-smooth pockets of skin on either side of my pudendum, just under the fold of my overhanging belly. I understand the passionate abandon with which one man took my left leg into both arms as he knelt before my reclining body and kissed the leg's thickness, stroked it wildly from tree-trunk calf to thunder-thigh, his eyelids half-lowered in a state of near-madness, overcome, a stream of pleasing filth dripping from his slack lips. I no longer discount the lovers who reveled in the rolling cashmere expanse of my ass as having had "something wrong" with them.
Do people view fat women as unsexy because it's what they've been taught since birth? And are they eating that opinion obediently off a spoon like a dozy infant in a high chair?
We look at fat women and are conditioned to think their thick limbs and juicy middles are putrid. But these same features fail to disgust us in other contexts.
We bite into a plump and succulent fruit with relish.
We put the corpulent plaster bodies of cherubs on display in our gardens, on our bedspreads in one-dimensional brushed cotton and on glossy paper we frame and hang in our powder rooms.
Every fleshy newborn baby inspires cooing and cuddling. We can't resist fondling their soft, stout and unshapely limbs, tickling their pudgy bellies and nuzzling their swollen apple cheeks.
Every time I see a dog show on TV., I'm struck by how fervently we adore our fat little breeds of dogs: the endearing rotundity of lumbering bulldogs and chubby pugs, the sad heavy-lidded eyes and loose sagging skin of the sweet shar-pei. (Ironically, the fat breeds are among the most popular in status-conscious/body-conscious human circles.) We derive joy from the appearance of these creatures. We can't resist reaching out for them, encircling their barrel bodies with affectionate hands.
We survey lush landscapes with variations not dissimilar to an "imperfect" female body with absolute pleasure -- say, an expanse of Irish countryside with grassy rolling hills, and clusters of boulders and sudden valleys, gullies and ridges and bald patches. Do these wide swaths of earth nauseate us? Is it really so much uglier when it's made of flesh instead of soil?
I think men in particular are ashamed to admit to their buddies, even to their families, when they find themselves attracted to a fat woman. Sometimes I think they sublimate their natural desires just to keep up appearances. And that's just plain unhealthy.
Some of you may have read about my "social experiment" in which I created a fake book cover, "Fat is Contagious: How Sitting Next to a Fat Person Can Make YOU Fat" and displayed it openly on public buses. It was pure mockery on my part; a snarky response to the many people on buses who'd made nasty remarks about my weight and/or refused to sit next to me. And yet I stopped riding subways for the opposite reason: I was tired of being molested.
Every other trip it seemed I was getting grabbed or squeezed or jizzed on. I've seen some clever, applause-worthy ruses for trying to get a hand on a boob. I even sent a stalker to jail -- a wiry, drunken fool whom I first noticed when he tried to slip his hand under my ass while I sat. Men did strip teases to impress me; they pulled it out and shamelessly started whacking off as they stared.
It's compelling, isn't it? It's as if guys are literally taking their desires underground.
As for me, I'm ashamed of myself. Ashamed that I'm not strong enough to shrug off your shame for finding me fleetingly attractive. So when skin is bared to the emerging sun of summer, eagerly unwrapped and unsweatered and flaunted in the light of day, it's your disgust for my kind of body that keeps me covered up. At least while I'm out among you. I don't want to tempt your cruel comments, don't want to imagine the ones you might be making as you drive by.
And I don't want you to think less of me. I don't want you to miss my engaging personality, and my wealth of good jokes and even better ideas, because you're distracted by the details of my obesity: the translucent tiger stripes of my stretch marks; cellulite like a dappling of fairy fingerprints on my skin. I want you to give me a chance. For a job and equal pay, for a table near the front of the restaurant, for courtesy when I shop in your store, for lasting friendship, for unconditional love, for everyday kindness. So I hide my fat as best I can.
Which is probably a good thing anyway, because if I really let you see it all, you might die from an overload of primordial lust.
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And I thank you, Kim, for reminding me again that I do not have to accept the hate. Hopefully some of the closet admirers can bring themselves to stand against societal pressure as well, so I don't have to move to Mauritania to get a boyfriend.
-- Posted from my iPhone via BlogPress app